Tag Archives: Pop Rocks

Top 10 Dollar Store Buys For Promoting Oral Motor Strength and Coordination

Libby Kumin, in her book Early Communication Skills for Children With Down Syndrome, introduced me to a lot of these ideas.  I’ve adapted them to what I can find at the dollar store (Dollar Tree) and I’ve added a few of my own along the way.  It is notable that Noah’s ability to do some of these things and his practice of them was immediately followed by a huge leap in the quantity and quality of his vocalizations.

10.  Lollipops – You hold lollipop while your child sticks his tongue out to touch and lick it.

9.  Pop Rocks

8.  Bubbles (mouth blowing kind)

7.  Straws, crazy straws and coffee stirrers

6.  Flavored chapstick

5.  Pinwheels

4.  Party horns – all sizes and shapes

3.  Whistles – all sizes and shapes

2.  Paper horns (the kind that unfold as you blow)

1.  And the number one dollar store buy for promoting oral motor strength and coordination is . . .

Thingy mabobbers (I have no idea what they are really called, but these are way fun!)

Pop Rocks II – The Recipe

I happened to get curious after I published my earlier post on Pop Rocks, and I happened upon a recipe for organic Pop Rocks (that would be minus the artificial coloring).  Pretty cool stuff.  And I also forgot to mention a couple other ideas for those little edible firecrackers.  (Okay, please don’t use that term with your children – it could get be very dangerous if they get the wrong idea.)

Pop Rock covered lollipops:  They actually sell this, but it’s probably easier and cheaper to use a small lollipop (Dum Dums work great), dip it in water, dip it in Pop Rocks, and insert into child’s mouth.  Move it around slowly  so your child has time to increase his awareness of what is happening where in his mouth.  Take it out of their mouth and have them stick out their tongue to lick the lollipop while you hold it (the lollipop, that is).

Pop Rocks in water:  If you are hesitant this might be a bit too much for your child, this is a great way to introduce them to Pop Rocks.  Spread out a teaspoon of Pop Rocks in the bottom of a small clear bowl or a plate (it is important your child is able to visualize as much of this activity as possible).  Sprinkle water over the top of the Pop Rocks, just enough to cover the bottom of the bowl or plate.  The sound effects will be dramatic, and you can even see some of the Pop Rocks “explode.”  Vocalize “pop, pop, pop,” clearly enunciating the “p” sound.  Noah loved this and was pop, pop, popping with very little prompting.

Rock on, Noah, rock on.

Pop Rocks . . . . Rock

Encouraging Speech in Your Child With Down Syndrome or Autism

We’ve been trying to increase Noah’s awareness and control of his mouth, lips and tongue, and it’s been a real challenge to get him to move that tongue around.  The hope is that awareness will support our efforts to evoke speech in our little guy with Down syndrome.

Remember those candy packets you emptied in your mouth as a kid, and as they dissolved they would pop and sizzle like bacon in a frying pan?   Remember swishing them around in your mouth to get them popping?  Remember opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue to intensify the effect?

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

One trip to the grocery store later and we have:

Noah, oh Noah?  Open wide.  1/4 teaspoon full in the mouth.  Eyes getting big.  Eyes looking all around searching for the source of the strange noises and sensations Noah is feeling in his mouth.

Mom:  Pop, pop, pop.

Noah:  Pop, pop, pop.  Giggle giggle.

Mom:  Now, stick out your tongue.

(Another 1/4 tsp on the tongue)

Mom and Noah:  Pop, pop, pop.  Giggle, giggle.

Folks, I think we’re on to something.  The look on Noah’s face when he was trying to figure out what was going on inside his mouth was priceless.  I can safely say he has never concentrated so intently on what his mouth was doing as he did today for this activity.  Good stuff.

I suggest starting with a very small amount and ending the activity while your child is still enthusiastic.  As our kids are at the very least sensory sensitive, this can be an intense activity for them especially because it is so unfamiliar.  I mean, what can even come close to Pop Rocks, right?

Your Turn

What unconventional (or conventional) ideas have evoked verbal responses from your child?  Share your tips – we need them!